Document Type

Article

Abstract

Studies of flower development in core eudicot species have established a central role for B class MADS-box genes in specifying petal and stamen identities. Similarly in maize and rice, B class genes are essential for lodicule and stamen specification, suggesting homology of petals and lodicules and conservation of B class gene activity across angiosperms. However, lodicules are grass-specific organs with a morphology distinct from petals, thus their true homology to eudicot and nongrass monocot floral organs has been a topic of debate. To understand the relationship of lodicules to the sterile floral organs of nongrass monocots we have isolated and observed the expression of B class genes from a basal grass Streptochaeta that diverged before the evolution of lodicules, as well as the outgroups Joinvillea and Elegia, which have a typical monocot floral plan. Our results support a conserved role for B function genes across the angiosperms and provide additional evidence linking the evolution of lodicules and second whorl tepal/petals of monocots. The expression data and morphological analysis suggest that the function of B class genes should be broadly interpreted as required for differentiation of a distinct second floral whorl as opposed to specifying petal identity per se.

Publication Date

January 2007

Publication Title

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Volume

104

Issue

3

First Page

1081

Last Page

1086

DOI

10.1073/pnas.0606434104

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